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Mother of Uvalde shooting victim announces mayoral bid

The mother of a 10-year-old girl who was gunned down at Robb Elementary School in Texas last year is running to be Uvalde mayor to “honor” her late daughter’s life “with action.”

Kimberly Mata-Rubio, 34, launched her campaign to be the city’s first female mayor in a heart-wrenching tweet Thursday addressed to her late daughter, Alexandria “Lexi” Rubio.

“I grieve for the woman you would have become and all the difference you would have made in this world. I grieve for the woman I was when you were still here,” Mata-Rubio wrote.

“But, one part of me still exist, I am still your mom. I will honor your life with action. This is only the beginning💛.”

In an interview with the Uvalde Leader-News, where she works, the mother of five said the small town of a little over 15,000 people has become “stagnant” in the years leading up to last year’s school shooting.

Portrait of Kim Mata-Rubio.
Mata-Rubio announced her mayoral bid in a tweet on Thursday.
Twitter / @kimrubio21

“It would be easy to run from the issues that plague our town, but I have decided to remain in Uvalde and be part of the change that is long overdue,” she told the outlet.

“Our leadership became comfortable, which led to the events that unfolded on May 24, 2022. The aftermath has added to the trauma of a grieving and fractured community. It is my hope to bridge the gap because only when we come together can we evolve to something greater.”

Mata-Rubio and former mayor Cody Smith are thus far the only candidates in the special election to replace Mayor Don McLaughlin, who is stepping down to run for a seat in the Texas House, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

Mata-Rubio's local paper profile.
Kimberly Mata-Rubio was also profiled in the Uvalde Leader-News this week.
Twitter / @kimrubio21

Lexi Rubio was killed alongside 18 of her classmates and two teachers on May 24, 2022, when a teenage gunman entered Robb Elementary armed with a legally purchased assault rifle. 

Just a few hours before her death, the sporty, studious fourth grader was honored for earning all A’s and good citizenship at a school ceremony.

Since her daughter’s death, Mata-Rubio has been at the forefront of the coalition of grieving parents advocating for gun reform on a state and federal level.

Flowers are piled around crosses with the names of the victims killed.
Nineteen students and two teachers were gunned down at Robb Elementary on May 24, 2022.

“The average citizen does not need access to these types of weapons. They are meant to destroy lives and that’s what they’ve been doing,” she told CNN in May.

In her discussion with the Leader-News, Mata-Rubio cited her experience with government in the year after her daughter’s death as a driving factor in her mayoral campaign.

“I know she can be this bigger person. One day, she’ll get it, and the whole world will see. And then they’ll also remember that that’s Lexi’s mom.” she said.

Lexi with her parents.
Lexi was honored for her stellar grades and citizenship just hours before her death.
Facebook / Kimberly Mata-Rubio

“Topics I feel need to be addressed include the risk to our motorists during high-speed chases in city limits, improving communication between the city and other entities including the county and school district, preserving Uvalde’s rich history and culture, and assisting with the prosperity of locally-owned businesses.”

Mata-Rubio’s husband, Felix, was a sheriff’s deputy last year. He was off-duty on the day of the Robb Elementary shooting, but responded to the scene when officers called for reinforcements, CNN reported.

The law enforcement response to the shooting has been criticized after it was revealed 400 armed officers hesitated outside the classroom for over an hour before confronting the gunman, the American-Statesman added.

Cops in a hallway.
Law enforcement officers lingered in the school hall way while Lexi and her classmates were killed.

Just one day after the massacre, Uvalde schools’ former top cop Pedro “Pete” Arredondo admitted that he knowingly abandoned the children and teachers with the shooter.

The Justice Department is still reviewing over 13,000 pieces of evidence tied to the botched response, CNN said.

“My understanding is this first group of officers that come in, they’re shot at, they retreat, and they never go back in. They let children die in that classroom. And I can’t even explain to you what they’ve taken from me,” Mata-Rubio told the outlet in May.

Police and other enforcement agenices rescue terrified students through windows after the shooting.
Police and other enforcement agencies rescue terrified students through windows after the shooting.
Pete Luna/Uvalde Leader-News

Mata-Rubio is a lifelong Uvalde resident and currently works in advertising for Leader-News after an award-winning stint as a staff writer and assistant editor, the local paper said.

She graduated in December with a degree in public history from St. Mary’s University.

“I want to represent the underserved in this community, whose voices matter but have long been unheard,” she told the Leader-News this week.

Lexi's parents in court.
Mata-Rubio has advocated for gun reform at the state and federal level.

“I want residents to see themselves in me and feel at ease sharing their grievances.”

If elected, Mata-Rubio would be the first woman and third Hispanic mayor of Uvalde.

She would also be only the fifth woman to sit on the city council.

“I want to work with city residents for the betterment of our city,” she continued.

“I would be grateful for your vote during the early voting period set Oct. 23 through Nov. 3, or on election day, Nov. 7. The deadline to register to vote in the November election is Oct. 10.”

With Post wires

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